I'm learning to identify ways in which Christian culture has inoculated us from our true calling as stewards of the light and life-giving Christ in this dark and dying world. Things that look good and even do some good, but also often quench and delude our Spirit-fueled compulsion to share what we’ve received with others in the ongoing relational flow of God’s miraculous life.
For example... short term missions, charitable donations, international missionary support, even giving to local ministries like our churches... No doubt, there’s some great fruit that comes from each of these; but they also have the potential to satisfy our conviction in a way that prevents us from connecting with the needy relationally, causing us to miss the very heart of God’s redemptive aim… relational reconciliation.
If we give to organizations and institutions, trusting that they will interact with the needy, then we have relegated our light-sharing, life-giving presence in this world to one of impersonal resource redistribution. And while that fits nicely with a socialistic government model, it’s still very far from God’s kingdom reality… which is founded on love… a personal, skin-on-skin, relational exercise.
Does this change where or how we give our money? Does it change where we serve or volunteer? Does it change our awareness of our motives in such things? Are we simply trying to feel good about ourselves and our faith or are we really striving toward relational reconciliation with God and people?